An Insight into Various Types of Ear Infections

doctor checking woman's ear
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The ear consists of three parts. The outer part includes the lobe and canal to the drum. The middle part begins at the eardrum, containing tiny bones whose work is sound amplification. Sounds get translated to impulses and transmitted to the brain in the inner part.

If viruses, fungi or bacteria infect any of the three parts, you begin displaying some symptoms. Children are prone to infections of the middle ear. When you go for hearing aid repair here in Denver, CO, you need to be careful the professional services you use. If not handled hygienically, hearing aids can accumulate dirt, causing an infection to the ear. Common symptoms of infections include discharge, headaches, fever, vertigo, ear noises and mild deafness. If you experience similar symptoms, the doctor will check you for the following infections:

Otitis externa

This is an inflammation or infection of the canal joining the outer part and the eardrum. It can result from mechanical damage during cleaning or exposure to dirt. Infectious agents can be bacterial or fungal. Treatment for otitis externa includes steroid and antibiotic eardrops, pain relievers, and antifungal medications, depending on the origin of the disease.

It may also prove necessary to perform professional cleaning of the canal.

Otitis media

This is a middle ear infection, and it can range from chronic to acute. The most affected by this infection are children because it results from a blockage in the Eustachian tubes. It may also follow a cold, and in that case it can be bacterial or viral.

In extreme cases, the eardrum bursts, causing pus to enter the canal. The eardrum heals, but treatment options for the infection include eardrops and antibiotics. Regular bouts of this infection can become chronic, creating other complications such as meningitis, sensorineural deafness and face paralysis. In such cases, one may need surgical repair for the eardrum.

woman suffering from ear pain

Serous otitis media

Also called glue ear, this infection mostly affects children up to the age of two. Glue ear develops from an infection of the middle ear. It happens when pus and fluid accumulate in the canal and can be treated using antibiotics. A child prone to regular attacks may need surgery to add drainage tubes to the ear.

Infectious myringitis

This is an inflammation in the eardrum resulting from viral or bacterial infection. The eardrum will respond to the swelling by forming blisters, that can prove painful. A bacterial infection will show up with a fever. One will need medications for pain, for a professional to rupture the blisters and antibiotics.

Acute mastoiditis

There is a bone you feel behind your ear called mastoid. This infection develops from acute otitis media and affects the mastoid. The skin on the bone may swell and become red, and you may begin to see discharge, accompanied by sharp pains.

This infection could lead to blood poisoning, deafness and face paralysis. One needs intravenous antibiotics and surgical drainage.

Every part of the ear plays a significant role in healthy bodily function. An infection will interfere with normal functioning and should be treated as soon as it is noticed. At the hospital, doctors must run a physical exam.

In other cases, pus or discharge is collected and taken to the laboratory for analysis, and when it calls for it, CT scans may be necessary.